If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that everyone and everything can change.
Over the last few months people, governments and organisations around the world have been forced to transform how they work at a pace that’s been dubbed a new “industrial revolution” by some analysts. As we all navigate this change, trust in leadership, remote technology and honest, authentic, effective communication have never been more important.
At Stripe we’ve supported our clients as they adapted their communications to resonate, reassure and engage with customers, service users, employees and stakeholders in new ways. The recent pace of change has been incredible and largely born out of necessity, but here are some of my observations from recent experience that I believe would apply at any time:
- Leadership is key. Visible leadership and trust in our leaders is absolutely vital, so buy-in from the top is essential. Whether that’s weekly video updates from the CEO, employee team briefings or regular email communication, the right level of communication provides reassurance that the best plan is in place.
- Nothing is more powerful than our emotions. We’ve all experienced fear, anxiety and hope over the last few months and the best performing brands responded by investing time in research to understand their audience and working hard to humanise their communications. They helped customers and service users feel in control amid a world of chaos.
- Take time to do a pulse check. Use data, insights and measurement to understand how people feel and track how things are changing. Whether that’s bespoke market research, the YouGov public monitor or a quick employee pulse survey.
- Listen and learn from employees on the frontline. Remote working technology has given employees more opportunities to have their voices heard and influence organisational change. It’s a two-way conversation and the best businesses take employee feedback seriously and put insights into practice.
- The right technology is transformative. Zoom, Slack, Teams, Yammer and Miro already existed but for most organisations uptake was low. Out of necessity businesses around the world took a leap into remote working technology without the chance to review what would be most effective. As businesses continue to adapt to new technology, now is the time to re-examine what’s in place and seek ways to make workforces more connected while introducing automation and artificial intelligence tools into everyday practice. If you’ve taken the first step into transformative tech, what’s next?
- Authenticity and creativity matter more than ever. Honesty, transparency and bold creative ideas need to be at the heart of communications as people increasingly question what they see, hear and read like never That’s come to the fore during the Black Lives Matter movement as brands are increasingly scrutinised on their stance and support – with brands like Yorkshire Tea and Ben & Jerry’s recognised for authentic responses.
Change is never easy but it has the potential to unlock innovation and make us think differently. The right change helps us achieve better business, create a better society and to better us as individuals.
Last week I saw a post on Instagram that made me question whether our experiences in 2020 have changed us for the better. I liked it. I wasn’t alone – 464,000 other people liked it too.
View this post on Instagram
“What if 2020 isn’t cancelled? What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for? A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw — that it finally forces us to grow. A year that screams so loud, finally awakening us from our ignorant slumber. A year we finally accept the need for change. Declare change. Work for change. Become the change. A year we finally band together, instead of pushing each other further apart. 2020 isn’t cancelled, but rather the most important year of them all.” 🖤